WHAT YOU MAY NOT HAVE LEARNED IN PAROCHIAL OR HEBREW SCHOOL
By Dr. Jack Cohen
To many, the phrase ‘Rational Religion’ may seem like an oxymoron. After you’ve read Daniel A. Diamond’s ‘Rational Religion’, I believe you will feel differently.
In Part 1, Diamond introduces the concept of the ‘noble lie’, used by early philosophers and religious teachers (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Maimonides) …. to deal with the fact than many not only cannot understand the ‘truth’ presented to them, but often feel that that those truths are ‘threats to their religion and ‘… to the very foundations of their lives.’
Part 1 continues with discussions on:
Generally unsuccessful attempts over the years to prove the existence of God
Deism in which there is belief in a God, apart from the trappings of formal religions, but not in any of the so-called un-natural events described in the Bible
While the Torah mentions essentially nothing about an afterlife, the ‘popular’ belief among adherents to all 3 major religions is that such an afterlife does exist
In part 2, Diamond introduces the concept of a ‘transcendent’ God who created the world, set in place the laws of nature to regulate the world, but does not participate in the day-to-day activities. An obvious conclusion is that people are in control of their destiny, but that they should improve themselves by studying science and logic in order to make the most reasonable decisions at any given time and not rely on issues of morality alone.
Part 3 provides comparisons of episodes in the Torah with pre-biblical versions of similar events: e.g. creation, the flood. Diamond offers detailed descriptions of those events, including similarities and disparities among the different presentations.
‘Rational Religion’ is an easily read text, is well organized, with each of the 3 sections being outlined in advance and summarized at the end of each section.